Super Green Avocado Pizza

Being Italian I love a traditional wheat crust pizza but I also love to experiment with different and a bit more unusual ingredients! Although it might sound a bit weird this cauliflower pizza crust is so flavoursome and moorish. It can be made completely gluten free by using a gluten free flour (i personally love buckwheat) and it’a packed to the brim with veggies and wholesome goodness. The Avocado pesto is definitely the best part. For this recipe I have used Gem® Avocado which are now available at Tesco. What makes these avocados stand out from the crowd is their incredibly buttery consistency, yes even more than regular avocado! Gem® avocados are also left on tree for longer which means they get to ripen more at their natural state. They have a gorgeous golden yellow colour and an insanely delicious nutty flavour!

I topped my pizza with even more sliced Gem®, spring onion, cherry tomatoes, peas and cress but other toppings like mushrooms and rocket will be great too!

By the way the Gem® cream is also super delicious stirred into pasta or used as a dip or salad dressing.

Makes 1 large pizza or 2 small ones

For the base:

1 head of cauliflower

2 tbsp of milled flaxseeds + 6 tbsp of water

1 cup of spelt flour or flour of your choice

A generous pinch of salt

1/4 cup of cold water

The juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of dried oregano

For the avocado “cream”:

2 tbsp of cashews

A generous handful of fresh basil leaves

1/2 Gem® Avocado

The juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast (it gives it a nice cheesy flavour)

1 garlic clove

Salt & pepper to taste

A glug of extra virgin olive oil

For toppings”

1/2 Gem® Avocado cut into thin slices

A handful of cooked peas

A handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 sprong onion finely chopped

Some kind of micro greens like cress or rocket will be great too

Toasted pine nuts (optional but adds a nice crunch)

Some basil leaves to decorate

To make the base:

In a small bowl mix together the flaxseeds with the water. Leave it onto one side until you have a gloopy kind of consistency (about 5 minutes).

Place the cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse until it starts ti crumble and the cauliflower looks like rice. Place the cauliflower crumble into a nut milk bag or a cotton cloth and squeeze out all the excess water. This is a very important step please don’t skip it otherwise the pizza base might result in being too soggy!

Add the drained cauliflower to a large bowl and add in the flour, the lemon juice, water, gralic powder, salt, oregano and the flaxseed mixture. Mix everything together until you have a slightly sticky kind of dough. Cover a large baking tray with some parchment paper and spread the cauliflower dough into a round pizza shape. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Make sure to flip onto the other side halfway through to make sure both sides cook evenly.

While the pizza base is cooking make the avocado cream. Simply place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz util fairly creamy and smooth. Add a dash of water or extra olive oil if the consistency is too thick.

Remove the pizza from the oven and spread a even layer of the pesto. Place the pizza back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Add the toppings and enjoy while still warm!

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Tesco Fuss Free Food + Creamy Mushroom Pasta

If you are like me and follow a specific diet/lifestyle you will agree that sometimes doing your grocery shopping can really take up some times! Tesco has developed what I think is a genius tool which allows to filter your product search into categories such as vegan, vegetarian, low fat, no gluten and many more. Let me tell you, it’s really a breath of fresh air!

I tested this new lifestyle filter myself and I was so impressed on how much time it saved me. All I had to do was to select “vegan” from the filters available and in just one click all the vegan products available are all in one page. I then ticked the option “no gluten” and with just another click I had all vegan and gluten free option in front of me!

In my shopping I picked up some new no-milk options to make a delicious Cream Cheese and Mushrooms Pasta which is just perfect for speedy midweek dinners. The recipe is super simple, takes no time and it only requires few ingredients!

Ingredients:

1 pack of  Violife creamy original flavour

1 garlic clove

150gr of baby chestnut mushrooms – sliced in half

200gr of cherry tomatoes

A dash of soy sauce

Salt & pepper to taste

A dash of unsweetened almond milk to thin out the sauce

A glug of olive oil for cooking

Serve it with:

Tesco Free From penne pasta

A sprinkle of Tesco Free From Italian style hard cheese

Some fresh basil leaves

Chilli flakes (optional)

Place the cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray and drizzle them with some olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and place them in the oven at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes until soft and squishy.

In the meantime prepare the rest. Add a glug of oil to a pan with the crushed garlic clove. Cook for only few minutes, be careful not to burn the garlic! Add in the chopped mushrooms and a dash of soy sauce. Cook the mushrooms until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Cook the pasta according to the cooking instructions. Drain the pasta and add in the Violife creamy with a dash of almond milk. Mix everything well together. Stir in the mushroom and the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with some Tesco Free From Italian style hard cheese and some fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

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Pasta & Fagioli

Definitely one of my favourite Italian recipe, Pasta & Fagioli is the perfect winter warmer! So filling and packed with favours this recipe is ideal for cosy nights in. I personally like to make a big batch on Sunday so I have plenty for the rest of the week.

Make a large pot enough for 3-4 people

Ingredients:

1 onion – finely chopped

1 stick of celery

1 carrot – peeled finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic – crushed

Around 200gr of tomato passata

200gr of dry borlotti beans – if you use canned I would probably use 2 tins

2 bay leaves

A generous handful of finely chopped fresh parsley

Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

About 200gr of small pasta of your choice – I have used spelt “ditali” shape

A glug of olive oil for frying

Extra parsley and some fresh chilli/cherry tomatoes to sprinkle on top.

In a large pan heat up the plug of oil. Add in the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Cook on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes until the onion has soften. Add in the crushed garlic and the bay leaves and cook for another minute stirring from time to time. Add in half  of the cooked/tinned borlotti beans, passata and final chopped parsley. Mix everything together, put the lid on and cook for 25-30 minutes on a very low heat.

Place the other half of the beans in food processor or blender and blend with a little water until you have a paste/cream kind of consistency. Add the pureed beans to the pan with all the other ingredients.

Cook the pasta according the cooking instructions. Once cooked, drain it and add it to the bean stew. Add in the finely chopped parsley and mix everything well together.

Serve straight away with some fresh chilli on top and some cherry tomatoes.

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Blueberry & Oat Breakfast Cookies

Sometimes breakfast can seriously be a rushed business. These cookies are just perfect for those “no-time-for-brekfast” kind of mornings. They are packed with nourishing ingredients and they are just perfect for breakfast on the go. I like to have a couple before I head to the gym or they also great as an afternoon snack. If you want to keep them completely gluten free just use certified gluten free oats.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of Blueberries ( I have used fresh but it should work with frozen blueberries as well)

1 tbsp of Natvia Sweetener

1 cup of oat flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 tsp of Baking powder

3 tbsp of Almond butter (the runnier the better)

3 tbsp of Coconut oil

1/2 cup of Maple syrup

1 tsp of Vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

1-Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

2-Place the oats into a food processor and pulse for few seconds. You don’t want to turn them completely into flour, but still keeping a chunky texture.

3-Transfer them to a large bowl and add the ground flour, baking powder, salt and Natvia Sweetener.

4-Mix everything together.

5-Add in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and almond butter. Mix again until you have sticky dough.

6-As gently as you can fold in the blueberries.

7-As the dough is quite wet and sticky I have used an ice-cream scooper to shape the cookies. Not only is less messy but it also helps you to have cookies even in size and shape, but if you don’t have one feel free to use you hands. Pick up about a small golf ball of mixture, and place it on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and pat it down slightly to a cookie shape.

8-Bake the cookies in the oven for 15-18 minutes until they start to go golden brown around the edges.

9-Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool down completely before digging in!

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Chickpea Pancakes with Pumpkin Puree & Roasted Tomatoes

Savoury pancakes are seriously on my latest obsession! Especially when made with chickpea flour. If you have never use it or not really familiar with it, please give it a go! It’s a very dense flour so you definitely need to add a bit of bicarbonate to make the pancakes go a bit fluffier. When I am feeling super lazy I just serve them with some mashed avocado and some chopped tomatoes, so simple but so delicious and filling at the same time.

 

If you have some extra time on hand I would highly recommend to make this pumpkin/red lentils puree. It adds a lovely creaminess and sweetness and it’s also great on its own.

Serves 2-3 people (depending on how hungry you are)

Ingredients:

For the chickpea pancakes:

1 cup of chickpea flour (also called Gram flour)

3/4 cup of water

A pinch of sea salt

1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda

For the pumpkin puree:

About 1 cup of pumpkin or butternut squash cubes

1/3 cup of dried red lentils

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp of cumin powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1tbsp of lemon juice

1 tsp of miso paste (optional but it will add lots of flavour)

Salt to taste

For the tomatoes:

About 250-300 gr of cherry tomatoes

A glug of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Start by making the pumpkin puree. Place the pumpkin cubes onto a baking tray. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle some salt & pepper. Bash the garlic clove with skin on. Add them to the tray and bake the pumpkin in the oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes until soft.

At the same roast the tomatoes as well. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half

While the pumpkin is baking cook the red lentils. Rinse the lentils very well under the water and add them to pan. Cover them with water and cook them for 15-20 minutes until soft and mushy. Add more water to the pan if the lentils look like they have absorbed all the water and they are drying out.

Once cooked drain the lentils and add them to a food processor. Remove the pumpkin from the oven. Squish the garlic out of their skin and add them to the food processor together with cooked pumpkin. Also add in the cumin, turmeric powder, lemon juice, miso paste and salt to taste. Blitz until you have a creamy and fairly smooth puree.  Leave it onto one side while you are making the pancakes.

In a large bowl mix the chickpea flour with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Gradually add in the water and start mixing with a whisk to avoid any lumps. Mix until you have a smooth pancake batter.

Heat up a little bit of oil on a non stick pan and once hot add in about 2 spoonfuls of the pancake batter to create a round pancake. Repeat the process until you have used all the batter.

Serve the pancakes while still warm with a dollop of the pumpkin puree on top and the roasted tomatoes.

The pancakes are best eating them while still warm If you have any leftovers you can still enjoy them the next day. They tend to go a bit hard when cold but pop them in the toaster and they will still be delicious.

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Peach & Coconut Crumble

My peach obsession continues! I just can’t get enough of this gorgeous seasonal fruit! Although they are great on their own, they are also so incredibly delicious in baking recipes! This crumble could seriously not be easier! It only requires an handful of ingredients and it’s ready in half an hour. I love serving with some cold vanilla vegan ice-cream which starts to melt when in contact with the hot crumble from the oven, it seriously doesn’t get any better!

This recipe is also relatively low in sugar as I mostly use the nature sweetness of the peaches and Natvia Natural Sweetener which works brilliantly in all kind of baking recipes.

Serves 4 people

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

3 ripe peaches

1 tbsp of Natvia Natural Sweetener

1/ 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of oats

1/4 cup of raw coconut chips

1/4 cup of almonds or pecans

2 tbsp of coconut oil – melted

1 tbsp of maple syrup

A pinch of sea salt

Serve it with: vanilla vegan ice-cream (the best combination!)

For this recipe I have used a cast iron pan but feel free to use a regular baking dish.

1-Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

2- Cut the peached in half, remove the stone and then cut them into slices.

3-Arrange the slices at the bottom of your pan or baking dish.

4-Sprinkle the Natvia Sweetener and the vanilla extract on top.

5-Add the oats, coconut chips and almonds to a food processor.

6-Pulse (not continuously blitz) until you have a coarse kind of crumble, you don’t want to have a fine flour but have few chunky bits of nuts which will add a crunchy texture to the dish.

7-Transfer the crumble to a bow and add in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and a pinch of salt.

8-Mix everything together until you it’s all nice and coated.

9-Sprinkle the crumble on top of peach base until all the peaches are completely covered.

10-Place the pan or baking dish and bake it in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the crumble topping starts to turn golden brown.

11-Remove the crumble from the oven and serve it straight away wile still warm with some vegan vanilla ice cream.

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Chocolate Buckwheat Granola

Making your own granola is easier than you think. I love making a big batch once in a while and store it in a jar for few weeks. Lately I have been on a real buckwheat obsession and this chocolate combination has been my favourite! Buckwheat is a pseudo grain that is rich in protein, fibre and minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron. I love the crunchy textures of the nuts and seeds combined with the rich cacao flavour and the sweetness of the maple syrup and coconut chips. For this recipe I have used Vita Coco coconut oil which is brilliant in all kind of baking recipes and it’s particularly great in this granola as it really accentuate the coconut flavour. I kept this granola relatively low sugar but please feel free to mix in an handful of raisins or currants after the granola has cooled down.

Ingredients:

Makes about 1 litre jar

1 cup of raw buckwheat groats

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup of nuts of your choice – I have used almonds ( if you want to make it completely nut free just leave them out)

1/3 cup of coconut chips

2 tbsp of raw cacao powder

1/2 cup of maple syrup liquid sweetener of your choice

2 tbsp of Vita Coco coconut oil – melted

1 tsp of cinnamon powder

a pinch of sea salt

Place the buckwheat groats into a large bowl, add in the seeds, the chopped nut, raw cacao powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir everything together. Pour on top the melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix everything together until all the ingredients are nicely coated.

Line a large baking tray with some parchment paper and spread the granola on top until the tray is completely covered. With a spatula or the back of a spoon press it down.

Bake the granola at 150 degrees Celsius for about 50-60 minutes.  The key to crunchy but not burned granola is to make sure you stir it from time to time. So every 15 minutes, give the tray a shake or stir the granola with a spoon.

Remove the granola from the oven and let it cook down onto side for 1/2 hour. Add in the coconut chips and mix it all together. Store the granola in an airtight jar or container for few weeks.

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Tempeh Chilli

Since I came back from my sunny holiday in Croatia I have been craving warm and comforting food. Autumn is definitely on its way here in London and nothing beat a filling stew when the weather gets chilli. I love tempeh so I wanted to try to use as a “vegan mince” as it’s super ealthy, packed with awesome plant protein and absorb very easily any flavours. The result is a super chunky, juicy chilli which I have got the feeling I will make it over and over again this autumn.

I have served it with short grain brown rice, fresh corn, avocado and plain coconut yogurt and I can honestly say it was heaven! If you can please don’t skip any of these components as they really bring the dish together!

Makes a nice large pot enough to feed 4 or plenty leftovers

Ingredients:

1 onion – finely sliced

1 carrot – finely choppe

1 sweet pepper – chopped into small pieces

3 garlic cloves

1 fresh chilli -finely chopped

About 200gr of cooked beans- I have used a combination of black and kidney beans- you can also use a can of already mixed beans

About 1/2 block of tempeh – 125gr roughly – if you cannot find tempeh you can also use  frozen soy mince (like Quorn)

2 tbsp of tomato puree

2 cans of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp of maple syrup or coconut sugar

2 tsp of smoked paprika

1 tsp of coriander powder

1 tsp of cumin powder

Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp of oil for frying (you can also use water instead

Serve it with:

Brown rice (my favourite is short grain)

Sweetcorn

Some sliced avocado ( highly recommended! Please don’t skip)

A dollop of unsweetened coconut yogurt (again highly recommended)

Start by preparing the tempeh. Simply place it in a pan and cover it with boiling water. Let it boil for 20 minutes. Then drain it. This will help to remove the slight bitterness of the tempeh

Add the oil to pan and add in the finely chopped onion and carrot. Fry for few minutes until the onion start to soften. Add in the crushed garlic and all the spices. Cook for another minute stirring continuously. Add in the chopped pepper, beans, tinned tomato and tomato puree. Mix everything well together. With your hands crumble the tempeh and add it into the pan. Add the maple syrup and give another good mix. Put the lid on and cook the chilli on a low heat for 30 minutes. Add in the salt and pepper (be generous) and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

While the Chilli is cooking I cook the brown rice and sweetcorn. If you are using sweetcorn I just steam it for 20 minutes and the slice the corn kernel off the cob.

Serve the cilli with some brown rice, the sweetcorn, some sliced avocado and a generous dollop of coconut yogurt. I also like to drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice and some chilli flakes.

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Beauty Mylks

Call me a geek but making my own nut milk is just so much fun! Don’t get me wrong, we are so lucky to live in a time when the dairy options are literally booming ( at least in the UK) and where we are really spoilt for choice! From cashew, tiger nut, hemp seeds to oats and peanut mylk the sky seems to be really the limit! I do have some favourites which I regularly buy from the store but whenever I have the time (and I remember) I try to make my own nut or seed mylk. The beauty of making your own is that you can really experiment with different flavours and nuts/seeds combinations to create your very own personalised drink of choice.

The 4 below are definitely my favourites which I have been making over and over again as they are soo delicious! I like to call them Beauty Mylks because they all have particular beauty benefits which your skin will thank you for.  Generally nuts and seeds are all incredibly beneficial for our skin as they are a great source of healthy fats to keep our skin plump and glowy.

I hope you enjoy making them and please let me know which one is your favourite!

Few notes:

  • The amount of sweetener needed for each mylks is entirely up to you. I tried to keep it not too “sugary” but please feel free to adjust it to your personal taste.
  • I like my nut mylk to be super creamy that’s shy I have used a relatively small amount of water. If you like it a bit more watery (or you just want to get a larger amount of nut mylk) feel free to add more water, it will still be delicious!
  • I have used vanilla bean paste or powder as they are so much more flavoursome than vanilla extract. You can really taste the difference!
  • I have had so much fun playing around with different nuts/seeds combination but please know that you can totally switch them up to other nuts/seeds too! These are just my personal favourites 🙂
  • Since these mylks are completely free of emulsifiers or additives they will naturally “separate” when stored in the fridge. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal! Just give the bottle a shake and you are good to go!
  • Store them in an airtight jars or bottles in the fridge for up to 3 days. Again, they completely raw and unpasteurised so they won’t last as long as the store bought ones.

Chocolate Mylk:

Raw cacao powder is a bomb of skin loving antioxidants, even more than blueberries!

1/4 cup of hazelnuts – soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours

1/4 cup of pecans – soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours

3 tbsp of raw cacao powder

3 tbsp of maple syrup

A pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste or powder

3 cups of water

Drain and rinse well the soaked nuts. Place them in a blender and add the water. Blend everything really well until the nuts have completely disintegrate and you have a foamy and white mylk.  Pour the milk into your nut milk bag and with your hands strain the milk into a large bowl (better to avoid spilling everywhere). Give the blender a quick rinse and add the strained milk back in with all the other ingredients. Blend again until super smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if needed.

Matcha Mylk:

Hemp seeds are probably my favourite seeds, they are super rich in protein and omegas 3 and vitamin E, essential to keep you skin plumped and glowy.

1/4 cup of hemp hearts ( no need to soak them)

1/4 cup of raw cashews – soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours

2 tsp of green tea matcha powder

1 tbsp of maple syrup

A  pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste or powder

3 cups of water

Drain and rinse well the soaked cashews. Place them in a blender with the hemp hearts and add the water. Blend everything really well until the nuts have completely disintegrate and you have a foamy and white mylk. Pour the milk into your nut milk bag and with your hands strain the milk into a large bowl (better to avoid spilling everywhere). Give the blender a quick rinse and add the strained milk back in with all the other ingredients. Blend again until super smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if needed.

Salted Caramel:

Maca powder is one of my favourite superfoods! It can help to balance your hormones so it’a particularly  good if you like me tend to have hormonal breakouts before that time of the month.

1 cup of raw cashews – soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours

1 1/2 tsp of maca powder (it what gives the caramel flavour)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp of sea salt

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste or powder

3 pitted medjol dates

3 cups of water

Drain and rinse well the soaked cashews. Place them in a blender and add the water. Blend everything really well until the nuts have completely disintegrate and you have a foamy and white mylk. Pour the milk into your nut milk bag and with your hands strain the milk into a large bowl (better to avoid spilling everywhere). Give the blender a quick rinse and add the strained milk back in with all the other ingredients. Blend again until super smooth and creamy.

Vanilla:

I always think sunflower seeds are totally underrated! Apart from being an excellent source of B vitamins, iron and zinc they are also a great source of essential fatty acids which encourage smooth and soft skin.

1/4 cup of raw macadamia nuts – soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or powder

1 tbsp of maple syrup

A pinch of sea salt

3 cups of water

Drain and rinse well the soaked cashews. Place them in a blender and add the water. Blend everything really well until the nuts have completely disintegrate and you have a foamy and white mylk. Pour the milk into your nut milk bag and with your hands strain the milk into a large bowl (better to avoid spilling everywhere). Give the blender a quick rinse and add the strained milk back in with all the other ingredients. Blend again until super smooth and creamy.

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Simple Baked Beans

I have been obsessed with these beans!! They are literally the best! I have been loving eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. By using fresh tomatoes the sauce is just so rich and full of flavour.  I love making a big batch so I can have them on hand when I can’t be bothered to cook or I haven’t got the time. My favourite way of serving them is with some crunchy sourdough and some creamy avocado, if you want to go for a brunch style dish then add some scramble tofu and weekend breakfast is sorted!

Makes a big batch which last me for the whole week in the fridge!

Ingredients:

1 white onion – peeled and finely chopped

500gr of cooked haricot beans or cannellini beans

550 gr of fresh tomatoes (ideally vine tomatoes) roughly chopped

1/2 cup of good quality tinned tomatoes or passata

2 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tbsp of coconut sugar

1 tsp of apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp of salt (or more depending on your taste)

A drizzle of oil for frying

Heat up the oil in a large pan. Add in the finely chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes on a low to medium heat until the onion starts to soften and caramelised. Add in the fresh chopped tomatoes, passata and tomato puree. Cook for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes have started to fall apart. Add in coconut sugar, vinegar and salt. Give everything a good stir and cook for another 10 minutes. Once the fresh tomatoes have almost dissolved into the sauce blend it all up. I have used a hand blender but any blender will work. Blend the tomato sauce until super smooth and creamy. Put it back Into the pan (is using a normal blender) and ad in the cooked beans. Mix it all together and cook the beans for another 15-20 minuets on a low heat. If the sauce it’s a bit liquid don’t worry the excess water will evaporate during the cooking time.

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